Listening to lessons learned from Sen. Ted Cruz’s former presidential campaign manager is like listening to an expert fisherman who just navigated the storm of his life.
Jeff Roe, who has worked with Republican candidates across the political spectrum, had to navigate a divided country, a divided party, a “media vortex” and a bevy of strong challengers with an unbending candidate few thought would have staying power.
Roe’s lessons learned included Cruz’s popularity and people skills outside the Washington beltway, the media’s insatiability and the anger of citizens who abhor unresponsive Washington politicians.
Political consultants, according to Roe, watch three indicators for a successful political campaign — media shares, endorsements and money. Roe emphasized that Cruz raised $92 million, which he said was the most money ever raised in a Republican presidential primary race. (RELATED: Political Scientist: 8 Years Of Obama’s Apologizing Left America Worse Off)
Yet, the amount of media coverage given to Donald Trump ultimately swamped the Cruz candidacy. Roe points to the specials that CNN’s Anderson Cooper recorded with the families of Cruz and Donald Trump as examples. The special with Cruz and his family brought in 2 million viewers — while the special with Trump and his family drew 11 million.
Roe explains in this 21-minute video interview for The Daily Caller News Foundation that when the media, for example, cut away from a Cruz victory speech in Wisconsin, it built an inevitability factor for Trump’s candidacy.
Roe addresses the personal vindicativeness of Sen. Mitch McConnell and former Speaker John Boehner toward Cruz, explaining the division between the Republican establishment and its base. Roe, however, gives McConnell somewhat of a pass since he has to battle with Cruz regularly.
While Boehner’s anger toward Cruz resulted from the former presidential candidate giving voice to the House conservatives, who, along with their outside conservative allies, essentially removed Boehner from the speakership. Boehner privately explained his rejection of the tea party agenda as “only representing 8 percent of his base,” according to Roe, which was a stunningly wrong assumption. The base Boehner and Republican leaders are dismissing is more likely 78 percent of those who call themselves Republicans, Roe explains.
Roe sees “two different Trumps” when assessing Trump and the Republican base. The Trump of his words and promises align about “75 percent with the Republicans,” while the Trump previous to this campaign is not aligned with the GOP, he says.
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